Gorefest

Rise to Ruin

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When Gorefest announced their breakup in 1998, many headbangers thought the breakup would be permanent -- perhaps their members would move on to other projects, fans thought, but it was assumed that Gorefest the band was gone for good. Then, in 2004, Gorefest reunited after a six-year absence. Their comeback album La Muerte ("Death") was well received by death metal enthusiasts, and there is no reason why a longtime Gorefest follower would not have a high opinion of 2007's Rise to Ruin. The Dutch outfit is in fine form on this 56-minute CD, providing death metal that is brutal, harsh, and bombastic but is relatively accessible by death metal standards. Rise to Ruin is not accessible in the way that 1996's Soul Survivor was accessible; there is nothing even remotely pop about this sledgehammer disc. Nor is Rise to Ruin melodic death metal of the In Flames/Age of Ruin/At the Gates variety. But even so, there are some important reasons why metalheads who don't necessarily get into a lot of extreme metal will find Rise to Ruin appealing. For one thing, Jan-Chris de Koeyer's growling Cookie Monster vocals are easy to understand; he never renders the lyrics indecipherable. Second, thrashy gems like "The War on Stupidity," "Murder Brigade," and the scorching, somewhat Sepultura-ish opener "Revolt" are genuinely hooky. Rise to Ruin isn't just about bonecrushing heaviness and high volume; it is about hooks and infectiousness. So put all of those things together, and you have a well executed album that -- although certainly a lot more vicious than Soul Survivor -- will appeal to die-hard Gorefest fans as well as headbangers who can either take death metal or leave it. Soul Survivor is a strong addition to Gorefest's catalog and is among the most memorable death metal recordings of 2007.

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